Tag Archives: drowned

The death of Jane GEERING: a timeline of events

31 Mar

I found some of the newspaper report into the death of Jane GEERING rather confusing to follow, because of the use of days of the week to refer to when events happened.

Using a program such as Calisto it is easy to find the calendar for a particular year, or it would be possible to work backwards knowing that the newspaper report was published on Saturday the 19th September 1874.

Laid out in the table below it all seems to make a lot more sense to me.

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14 Sep 1874
Unspecified time Jane was seen by Edwin Isaac Baker, bookseller and stationer, who was paying Jane an annuity of £20.
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About 9:30 pm Jane was seen going to bed by James Foster, a fellow resident at Cobden Place.
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15 Sep 1874
About 8:30 am According to James Pymar Billing this was about the time that Jane drowned.
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Between 8:30 am and 9:30 am Jane’s body was discovered in the common pond, possibly by James Foster.
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About 9:30 am Jane’s body had been removed from the pond and was being taken by stretcher to a nearby shed, then to the Home.
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After 9:30 am Jane’s body was examined by the surgeon James Pymar Billing of Hailsham.
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16 Sep 1874
Unspecified time Inquest held at The Terminus Hotel, Hailsham before L.G. Fullagar, Coroner for East Sussex.
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21 Sep 1874
Unspecified time Death of Jane GEERING registered with Thomas Gray.
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Death certificate of Jane GEERING (at last something interesting)

25 Mar

This is the third of this month’s certificate order, actually it is for Jane GEARING, but hopefully that is close enough for me to have the right person, probably the daughter of James GEERING my 5x great-grandfather.

This is by far the most interesting of the three certificates, but like the other two it doesn’t provide the evidence that I was hoping for. Jane died on the 15th September 1874 aged 76 years. Her occupation is given as singlewoman, which matches her census entries.

The place of death is the most interesting I have seen, usually it only gives a village or town, sometimes a workhouse or hospital if I am lucky. Jane’s certificate gives a very precise place of death, Common Pond, Hailsham.

The cause of death gives more clarification, “Found drowned in the Common Pond”. Not surprisingly the informant was the Coroner for East Sussex, after an inquest held on the 16th September 1874. The death was actually registered on the 21st September 1874.

This of course opens up more avenues of research, the official coroners report (if it survived) and any newspaper reports her death and the inquest. Also it poses so many questions. Was it suicide? Was it a tragic accident? How was she found? Had she gone missing?

Perhaps I shall never find the answers to these questions, but she has provided yet another interesting story, and of course more research to add to the growing to-do list.

The good news is that Common Pond, Hailsham still exists, although the common itself has all but disappeared.

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